On April 22, 2021, Senators John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Arizona), together with Representatives Tony Gonzales (R-Texas) and Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) introduced the Bipartisan Border Solutions Act of 2021, proposing improvements in asylum processing procedures for the asylum seekers arriving at the United States’ southern border.
In addition to proposing increases in asylum officers, immigration judges, and border personnel, the bill would create four regional processing centers at locations on the border that see high influxes of asylum seekers, as well as providing expanded access to legal information orientations, to pro bono attorneys and legal aid providers, and to materials and information in asylum seekers’ primary languages. The bill strikes a balance between improving existing due process standards for asylum seekers at the border and more effective processing, as summarized here
The effort to craft a bipartisan approach to improve asylum processing at the southern border has been publicly welcomed by a broad range of organizations including the American Business Immigration Coalition, of which MeBIC is a chapter, as well as by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Immigration Forum, Texas Association of Business, MeBIC partner New American Economy, Americans for Prosperity, and The LIBRE Initiative.
Congress must pass immigration reform this year, including paths to permanent legal status for Dreamers and those with DACA, and for farmworkers, TPS holders for whom bills have already been approved by the House of Representatives, and for others who are performing essential jobs in our economy and are already members of our communities. Members of Congress who say such reforms can’t be done until the southern border is addressed should support this bipartisan border bill that does just that.